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Reggie Bush does not miss training camp

The USC legend and Super Bowl champ talks life after football, the rewards of fatherhood and why fashion is an integral part of sports

It’s been almost a year since Reggie Bush, the University of Southern California legend and Super Bowl champion, retired. But you know what he doesn’t necessarily miss? Training camp. The camaraderie, the banter with his teammates and the bonds that form during the dog days of summer, sure. But the heat? He’s not exactly crying himself to sleep missing out on that. Training camps across the league are getting underway, and Bush remembers the heat as if it’s still beaming down on him.

“When I was in New Orleans,” he says, “we had training camp my first two years in Mississippi. It was the hottest place I’ve ever been. It was extremely humid. By the time you get off the football field and practice is done, your shoes are filled with water from the heat.”

Nowadays, Bush is focused on life after football and everything that comes with it: endorsements, free time and, most importantly, more time for his life’s greatest accomplishment — fatherhood. Bush recently chopped it up with The Undefeated on a multitude of topics, including his review of Drake’s Scorpion, his kids potentially playing football, the responsibility LeBron James carries now that he’s the new “King of L.A.” and a poignant take on the NFL’s new national anthem policy.

Can you break down your involvement in the “This Is How You Fan” campaign?

The ultimate goal of the campaign is just to speak to the fashion aspect of football and fans. And really bring in their love for their teams into their everyday lives through fashion. Whether they’re wearing their favorite hats or shirts or robes, tank tops, shorts or anything like that, that’s what it’s about.

What is it about sports and fashion that tie them together so seamlessly?

Some of the biggest celebrities are athletes and entertainers. Then also, a lot of musicians/entertainers are huge sports fans, and vice versa. I know that for most athletes we have our own special playlists that we listen to pregame or during the week when we’re practicing or in the gym. I’m always listening to music.

I have some of my favorite artists that I grew up idolizing and listening to. A lot of entertainers and musicians that are big sports fans, I think it’s really cool in that sense. We’re all in the business of entertaining.

What were some of your favorite road fans to play in front of?

I always liked playing road games. You go into a hostile environment. You always go into somebody else’s territory. When you get a chance to play road games, that’s when the chemistry of the team really has to jell. Fans are gonna be against you. Obviously, the opponent is too. It just makes it that much more exciting.

Obviously, we love playing home games because of the support and home-field advantage. But when you get a chance to win on the road, there’s really nothing quite like it. And it’s a dogfight usually, especially in football. It doesn’t matter what the record is of the other team. Good or bad, it’s always gonna be a tough game.

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What’s been the most rewarding gift of fatherhood that you didn’t see coming? How much are you looking forward to sitting down with them and showing them what pops used to do in his younger days?

The most rewarding part, like you said, when you’re away from home and your wife is sending you videos of the kids singing you Happy Father’s Day. Or one thing that’ll never get old is them running to the door when you walk into the house maybe from a long day of work. Your kids don’t care if you had a good day or bad day, they’re just happy to see you. That’s the most rewarding part.

It’s just the genuine love your kids will always show you no matter what you’re going through. They’re always the same. There’s something to be learned from that. A lot of times I think it’s human nature when we’re going through tough times, we kinda dwell on those mistakes or issues. Kids can teach you a lot just off the strength they’re always happy to see you. They’re always happy to see mom and dad. The love that they have for you is always genuine and pure.

To the second part of your question, I’ve never been big on going back and looking at my highlight videos. But I think if my kids end up playing sports, the one thing I’ll try to show them, if I do ever show them highlights of what I did, it’ll be just to show the work ethic. What it takes to get to the top, the amount of dedication it takes to be successful. It’ll be more along those lines.

This is what it took for me to get here. This is what I had to go through. There are some things that you’re gonna have to go through if you want to get to the top.

You oftentimes hear former football players saying they don’t want their kids to play football. What’s your stance on that?

Knowing what my body went through playing football, I went through a lot mentally and physically. The number of injuries and surgeries that you have to go through, I would just make sure that they’re very well-prepared and that they understand that. This game is great, but it does come with a price as well. You have to be OK with that. As long as you understand everything that comes with it, and if you still chose to play football after that then I’m 100 percent in their corner. I’ll never push them or pull them away from playing anything.

Last show you binge-watched.

I would say Power.

Last album and/or songs you downloaded.

The last album I downloaded was Drake’s album.

Thoughts on that?

I thought it was good. He had some hitters on there. There are a lot of songs on it, so I haven’t gotten through the whole album yet (laughs). Before that, the album that I liked the most was J. Cole’s KOD.

What’s your top two or three songs off Scorpion?

Hmmmm. I would say (pauses momentarily) “Survival.” That’s a dope track. And probably “Mob Ties.”

Now that LeBron James signed with the Lakers, he’s the biggest name on the L.A. sports scene. What’s that responsibility knowing you’re the king of Los Angeles?

Yeah, it’s a significant amount of responsibility that comes with that. Everybody’s gonna want to be next to him. Everybody’s gonna want a piece of him. And L.A.’s such a huge market that this is different than any market he’s ever played in before. Obviously, he was in Cleveland and then Miami for a little bit. But the Lakers are as big as it gets.

There are a lot of legends that have come before him that have worn that jersey. There’s a lot of responsibility that comes with putting on that Lakers jersey. I think he’s gonna do a great job. Obviously, he’s a workaholic. He’s proven himself year in and year out. He’s in a different conference, so that will be interesting to see how that plays out, to see if he’ll be able to get to the Finals again because the competition is definitely tougher in the West. It’s a lot of good teams and a lot of really good players. He pretty much ran through the Eastern Conference from the time he stepped foot on a basketball court.

When I think about it, it’s more of a business move for him. From my understanding, he already had two houses in L.A., so I think the writing was already on the wall anyway. I think he was already planning on coming here to further his business outside of basketball. That’s a very smart move.

What are your thoughts on the new national anthem policy? Does it further complicate the situation?

The new rules for the national anthem, I believe, maybe has complicated things a little bit more. There needs to be some common ground. There needs to be some kinda way to get past the issue. From what I understand and just talking to players and knowing guys, nobody was gonna take a knee this year. I think that was a last-year deal. I think everybody was past that.

The rule that came out was decided by the owners. The players had no decision in that. I think that’s where there needs to be improvement. Just with the players and the owners making decisions on rules that are gonna impact not only the NFL but the fans too. The one thing that I know is that for players, the social issues that continue to happen every day affect us. It’s going to continue to affect us. I think you’re starting to see players being more and more vocal about those social issues that go on. There are things that go on that we just can’t ignore. We can’t sit here and play football and act like we live in this bubble where the rest of the world doesn’t affect us — because it does. Especially for football, because we are the main sport in the U.S.

It’s more important for guys to be more vocal and to show they care about the community because football players are some of the biggest superstars in America. Hopefully the NFL can come to common ground to make a better decision on how to handle this thing.

Justin Tinsley is a culture and sports writer for The Undefeated. He firmly believes “Cash Money Records takin’ ova for da ’99 and da 2000” is the single-most impactful statement of his generation.